Let’s look at the numbers and be honest with ourselves – social media isn’t slowing down, and they don’t intend to. There are more than 1.47 billion monthly active users on Facebook on average, and this number includes an almost 17% spike in two years.
One of the primary benefits of social media is to establish trust and credibility among your customers. If the people perceive your product or service is useful, they will trust your brand, thus making them more likely to buy from you. The University of London also studied the impact of social media on consumers and discovered a positive correlation between trust and perceived value linking to sales.
A sound marketing strategy should drive every action taken on social media. For your business, brand or organization, this channel is unavoidable if you want to create dominance in your market.
1) Define your target audience and build relationships
The first step to develop a strong social media presence is to acquire highly relevant fans and followers. Regardless of the size of your company, before you start investing resources on social media, you need to know why you’re there and who is your target audience.
Solely by looking at Facebook, you have nearly 1.15 billion people scrolling through their feeds almost every day, so it’s important to focus on people who are valuable to your business.
Building trust and your brand reputation with relevant people is vital so that they buy today, return to purchase tomorrow and advocate others about your brand. This logic is the ethos behind a strong social media strategy.
If you want to invest in social media because you plan to sell a product rather than build relationships with your audience, it’s time to pause and reconsider your business model. Although you can sell a product using social media, relationship building still comes first.
2) Choose the right channel
When it comes to the different social media channels, every platform has its own established culture and audience – and they expect users and advertisers to approach their platform similarly.
Spreading your eggs across several baskets will not produce significant results for you. At the same time, you will be wasting resources like time, money and effort. Focus is the key to success.
There are dominant channels for every industry, depending on your audience, type of product or service. What you will need to know is which channels are dominant for your market and focus your resources on winning against the competition in those targeted channels.
In social media, it’s not about quantity, but quality. Doing a few channels well with consistent, highly-engaging content that resonates with your audience is what will lead to conversion or sale.
There’s no single, universal “best social media channel.” But, by understanding how each channel works and you’ll be able to maximize your investment.
3) Determine your objective (Be S.M.A.R.T.)
One of the first steps to create a social media marketing strategy is to set your objectives and goals. Without goals, there is no way to measure your success or Return On Investment (ROI).
As a guideline, each of your goals should be:
Despite this, always keep in mind that while vanity metrics like retweets and likes are exciting and easy to track, it’s hard to prove their actual value for the business. But instead, you should focus on goals such as leads generated, web referrals, and conversion rate.
By aligning your social media goals with the overall marketing strategy. It will be easier to show the value of your effort and get executive buy-in and investment for your social media strategy.
4) Create a strategy
You should always put more effort into your social media strategy to engage your audience rather than focusing immediately on getting returns. Growing the audience and brand loyalty doesn’t happen overnight.
A social media strategy defines how your organization will leverage on social media channels to achieve its communications goals and the supporting platform and tools it will use to accomplish this.
At a basic level it’s a simple statement of intent, outlining the goals and measurable objectives, and the target outcomes you hope to achieve. This strategy is done in the context of the overall business and communication plan so that social media isn’t working in a silo but working in parallel with other channels.
5) Develop valuable content
Engaging content can help your business in a variety of ways. It can set you apart from your competition and help establish you as an expert. Having generated good content also keeps your business top of mind with consumers, providing the leverage needed to keep your customers returning from time to time. Again, quality over quantity will always prevail.
Creating content for social media can be fast, but creating good content takes time and effort. In addition to written content, such as articles and blog posts, you should also consider creating tutorial videos, infographics, podcasts, and other content media to help build brand awareness.
6) Publish and promote your content
Majority of your time is spent on creating good content, but without publishing them, they are useless. When coming up with your social media strategy for 2019, consider what you can do to be more efficient. Having the right publishing schedule can help you save time and push out more content to your audience.
The ability to schedule content effectively also means perfectly timing your posts for maximum likes, comments, and shares. This ability can be easily obtained from the content consumption patterns on various platforms.
As your business embraces social marketing, your social media strategy will likely grow to include social media advertising. Advertising helps to increase outreach to more people outside of your followers based on effective targeting.
7) Track and measure the performance
The purpose behind measuring your effort on social media is to enable you to understand what you are doing that is working and to find out what you’re doing that isn’t bringing you any positive results. One way or another, tracking can help you formulate a better social media strategy.
Ongoing analytics help familiarize you with how your audience is interacting with your updates and more specifically, analytics are the way you get a feel for how your company is perceived on the platform.
Keeping an eye on your metrics also tell you how your efforts are paying off.
The best part about leveraging social media is being a part of the ever-changing technological advancements that this world has to offer.
With the opportunity to innovate at every turn and constant product development happening around the globe, there is an excellent potential for you to engage your audience in new and exciting ways.